[llvm-dev] [RFC] Using basic block attributes to implement non-default floating point environment

Serge Pavlov via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Mon Sep 30 22:35:47 PDT 2019

Hi all,

This proposal is aimed at support of floating point environment, in which
some properties like rounding mode or exception behavior differ from those
used by default. This include in particular support of 'pragma STDC
FENV_ACCESS', 'pragma STDC FENV_ROUND' as well as some other related


On many processors use of non-default floating mode requires modification
of global state by writing into some register. It presents a difficulty for
implementation as a floating point instruction must not be move to code
which executes with different floating point state. To prevent from such
moves, the current solution represents FP operations with special
(constrained) instructions, which do not participate in optimizations (
http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/cfe-dev/2017-August/055325.html). It is
important that the constrained FP operations must be used everywhere in
entire function including inlined calls, if they are used in some part of

The main concern about such approach is performance drop. Using constrained
FP operations means that optimizations on FP operations are turned off,
this is the main reason of using them. Even if non-default FP environment
is used in a small piece of a function, optimizations are turned off in
entire function. For many practical application this is unacceptable.

Although this approach prevents from moving instructions, it does not
prevent from moving basic blocks. The code that uses non-default FP
environment at some point must set appropriate state registers, do
necessary operations and then restore the original mode. If this activity
is scattered by several basic blocks, block-level optimizations can break
these arrangement, for instance a basic block with default FP operations
can be moved after the block that sets non-default FP environment.


The proposed approach is based on extension of basic blocks. It is assumed
that code in basic block is executed in the same FP environment. The
assumption is consistent with the rules of using 'pragma STDC FENV_ACCESS'
and similar facilities. If the environment differs from default, such block
has pointer to some object that keeps the block attributes including FP
settings. All basic blocks, obtained from the same block where 'pragma STDC
FENV_ACCESS' is specified, share the same attribute object. In bytecode
these attributes are represented by metadata attached to the basic blocks.

With basic block attributes compiler can assert validity of an instruction
move by comparing attributes of source and destination BBs. An instruction
should keep pointer to BB attributes even if it is detached from BB, to
support common technique of moving instructions. Similarly compiler can
verify validity of BB movement.

Such approach allows to develop implementation in which constrained FP
operations are 'jailed' in their basic blocks. Other part of the function
can still use usual FP operations and get profit of optimizations.
Depending on the target hardware some FP operations may be allowed to cross
the 'jail' boundary, for instance, it they correspond to instructions which
directly encode rounding mode and FP environment change rounding mode only.

Is this solution feasible? What are obstacles, difficulties or drawbacks
for it? Are there any improvements for it? Any feedback is welcome.

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